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How Not to Move a Heavy Piece of Machinery


#1

The following story is true but written with tongue firmly planted
in check. Those who know me will confirm that I have managed to
injure myself in some of the most interesting ways but still maintain
a sense of humor and acknowledge that I am just plain accident prone.

For the last 3-4 years I have been looking for a 16-18" lapidary
(rock) saw that was within my budget. Through an acquaintance who
knew a guy I found one in Hill City, Kansas. I called and heard what
the owner thought was wrong with the saw and found the price was in
my budget. So like a shot I was on the road to Hill City the next
day. Upon arrival I was shown the saw and the condition was much
better than I expected and it was a Highland Park J2 18" saw. The
holy grail of lapidary heads who appreciate older well built
equipment. I didn’t bother to haggle because the price was more than
right and it only needed the guides polished and possibly a new
motor. And I don’t possess a poker face and was grinning ear to ear
and had a steady flow of drool while looking at the saw.

So with the help of a couple of strong young men from the local
drilling company my saw was loaded and I was on my way home. These
saws are industrial quality and weigh over 600 lbs.

So the next day I was impatient to get my saw unloaded and start
working on it. Knowing I could have called some strong friends to
help, but I’m the type that hates to impose on people. So I devised a
way I could unload the saw with the help of my 15 year old son and my
daughter’s boyfriend. I backed my truck to the driveway with the back
tires in the gutter. Then I put two 8 foot 2x10 planks leading from
the tailgate of my truck to the driveway. The combination of my truck
tires in the gutter and the upwards slope of the driveway resulted in
a gentle angle to maneuver the saw down. We managed to get the saw on
two furniture dollies. While starting the saw down the 2x10’s I
neglected to have someone hold the 2x10’s to prevent them from
slipping off. Well the plank on my side slipped off the tailgate
that I was standing on and the next thing I knew I was landing flat
on my back on the driveway smacking my head soundly on concrete. I
managed to minimize the damage to the saw by breaking its fall by
having my right leg between it and the driveway.

Once the stars stopped swirling in my head I scrambled to my feet,
“I broke my saw!” Fortunately the only damage was to the sheet metal
hood. It had a dent the shape of my right knee. My son kept insisting
on taking me to the hospital but I assured him I was fine. A mere
flesh wound. So we managed to right the saw, get it back on the
dollies, and get it into the garage. The dent came out with a few
raps of a rubber mallet. I was still thinking I’m OK just a little
sore.

I went in the house to tell my wife about my experience. She asked,
“Who was helping me?” I responded, “Derick (my son) and Andrew (my
daughter’s boyfriend).” Which she responded, “And just who was
watching your grandson?” I gritted my teeth and responded, “He is
asleep. Thanks for your concern.”

So I puttered around cleaning up my saw, polishing the saw guides,
and correcting the faulty wiring that was the root cause of the
problem with the saw. I then went inside and sat down for about an
hour reading email. The whole time my son and wife kept insisting
that I go to the hospital. “I’m fine. Just a little sore.”, I
reassured them.

Well, then I tried to get out of my chair and was greeted by
blinding pain from a combination of muscle spasms in my back and
resulting bruised tissue from the fall and impact of the saw. So I
announced to my family that I was ready to go to the hospital now.

So off to the emergency ward. I didn’t have to wait long for the
triage nurse to interview me and give me a couple Vicoden and order
x-rays. Well as you probably know the emergency ward is also the only
medical help for those without health insurance and no means to pay
for visit’s to the doctor. So wait we did. As long as I didn’t move I
was just fine in my Vicoden haze. It took a long time for the
emergency room doc and radiologist to read my x-rays. You see I have
9 vertebrae fused together from a auto accident where I drove off the
side of a mountain and landed 300 ft below with my truck on top of me
(1976) and while working as a carpenter (my first career) I fell
three stories (1980). So the emergency room doc said I didn’t break
anything new and prescribed a huge dose of Demerol injected and wrote
prescriptions for muscle relaxers and pain pills and sent me home.
His parting words were, “You know someone with your kind of medical
history really shouldn’t be moving heavy pieces of equipment.” I
responded, “Really? Why not?”

My new saw is now running 16 hours a day cutting slabs. I’m just
about back to normal, as normal as I can be. And in case you are
curious, the driveway concrete was undamaged from the impact of my
head.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#2

Hi Rick,

Nice tale, I think you hit all the high points, let see: humour;
check, someone else’s pain; check, big machines; check, yep that
about covers it!

Seriously you sound like you’re lucky to be walking let alone
lifting anything heavier than a beer. You know what? You really
should have a chat with my old man, I think you’d have a lot in
common, he and I have moved some seriously heavy equipment with
nothing more than levers and rollers and quite a bit of sweat. Oh
yeah
and he’s also on the accident prone side of the ledger!

I’m glad to hear you escaped this one with nothing more than
bruising, it sounds like it could have been oh so much worse.

Cheers, Thomas.
PS I have a HLP 24" saw…


#3
So the emergency room doc said I didn't break anything new and
prescribed a huge dose of Demerol... 

You clearly have some cat ancestry, but it sounds as though you
might be running out of extra lives, so it might be time to start
thinking twice or three times before you leap!

Noel


#4

Rick

Sounds much like when I got my knee mill, only a ratchet strap broke
when I was off loading, or the 12 horse rototiller I was loading when
the 2x12 kicked out and I was nearly in the pickup bed. Or the rock I
loaded because the wife said ‘I want that one’.

Ya do things, and stuff happens on occasion. Better luck in the
future. :slight_smile:

Terry


#5
I have a HLP 24" saw..... 

Oooh, “mine’s bigger than yours”! Now, boys, let’s not get into saw
envy! ;>)

Noel


#6

Congratulations on your sense of humor, Rick. I am sure it has made
some rough times easier. My Highland Park saw is currently awaiting
a new blade. But I have a back-up in the wings…waiting, waiting…
It has been patiently waiting for a time like this. It sits there
minus it’s hood waiting for me to clean out the old kerosene and fix
the hood. Ah, the saw actually made the trip to our house with
kerosene load intact…moved by two burly teenagers in their pickup.
We followed behind in the car. They tooled down the road at the speed
limit. Suddenly the hood rose up like a sail. They had loaded it
with the opening forward. Sigh. Resulting in skewing of hinges and
warped metal coming loose from seam. Could be the hood was a little
delicate to begin with. It looks like he made his own housing and
used a kit for the innards.

Rose Alene, whose machinery is accident prone.


#7
I'm glad to hear you escaped this one with nothing more than
bruising, it sounds like it could have been oh so much worse. 

Yes, in retrospect it could have been much worse. If someone else
would have gotten hurt the guilt I would be experiencing would be
worse than the aches and pains I felt. I have a friend with a 24" HLP
so If I need to get something cut down to size I go visit him. Bigger
than that there’s the old sledge hammer. But then that might lead to
another tale of comedic mishap… :wink:

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#8
Oooh, "mine's bigger than yours"! Now, boys, let's not get into
saw envy! ;>) 

Yep, mine is bigger, but I often wish I had a 14" saw as sometime
bigger just isn’t better!

In astronomy it’s called “aperture fever”; here I’ll call it “blade
envy”! [grin]

Thomas.


#9

Hi Rick,

Safety, both of yourself and your helpers is always paramount, but
sometimes things just happen. The set up you describe, is quite
workable, my Dad and I have used similar to move as heavy or heavier
things in the past with no mishaps.

I have a broken scaphoid in my left hand from a ladder that shifted,
it was sited on a dry concrete pad, at the correct angle (the was an
inclinometer on the side of it) and I was only three rungs up it, the
guy holding the ladder was doing his job and still the ladder
slipped. Sometimes there just ain’t no justice… So even when you
follow all the rules things can still go wrong, that’s just life.

Sometimes I wish I had a 14" saw instead of the 24" monster, there
really are times when bigger isn’t better! And yes a sledge hammer
can make short work of those occasional pieces that just won’t
conform to the sizing requirements of the civilised world.

All the best, Thomas.


#10

About thirty years ago, my buddy Arnold sold such a machine for…
hmmm… I think $1,000. He asked if I could help with a few of his
friends to help load this thing onto the back of a stake truck. After
loading it, the guy handed Arnold a wad of hundreds. Arnold says
"Thanks" and when he finished counting, said " I though we agreed to
$1,000. There’s only $800 here". The guy comes back with “You wanna
get that thing back out of there?”. Arnold just smiled and walked
away.


#11
Sometimes I wish I had a 14" saw instead of the 24" monster, there
really are times when bigger isn't better! And yes a sledge hammer
can make short work of those occasional pieces that just won't
conform to the sizing requirements of the civilised world. 

I have an 18" HP, an old Lortone 10" with auto feed, and a 6" trim
saw. I buy/trade for a lot of end cuts that some cutters don’t want
to mess with, other than cutting waste, no stone goes unused. What
slabs I can’t use for jewelry I sell on eBay or at rock shows or
trade with fellow rockheads. Everything else goes in the tumblers for
mass shaping and finishing of free form cabs along with tumbling
sized rocks. What comes out of that process that is not a usable cab
or potential for further cutting I give away to kids at shows or
donate to my clubs silent auctions. The only not earth friendly
aspect of my operation is my electricity bill. Anyone got any ideas
on solar or wind powered lapidary equipment? :slight_smile:

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#12
Safety, both of yourself and your helpers is always paramount, but
sometimes things just happen. 

Yep. Some things you just have to chalk up to bad luck. Except if
you’re a lawyer then someone’s always responsible and that someone’s
going to get sued. But don’t get me started on that.

Thanks for the kind words Thomas.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#13

Saw envy isn’t just for the boys. I lost my slab saws in the
divorce.

Bobbie Horn
Texas